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Old 02-07-2015, 01:02 AM   #1
Gregg Bell
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What is Xubuntu besides Ubuntu?

I know it's xfce, but I also think it's debian. And I have it written down somewhere that it's GKT2. It's all kind of confusing: all these different terms. Gnome, QT, KDE. Hard to figure out what's what. Esp. when you're looking for apps. Like, 'This works best with Gnome and only marginally with KDE, but some have had luck running it partially on xfce.'
Old 02-07-2015, 02:00 AM   #2
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Xubuntu is based on Ubuntu, which is based on Debian. Gnome, KDE, Cinnamon, Mate, XFCE, LXDE, Budgie, Pantheon etc are called desktop environments. As far as installing apps, don't worry about if something is GTK2, GTK3, QT, etc.
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Old 02-07-2015, 03:19 AM   #3
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Debian is a linux distro.

Ubuntu is linux distro based on debian. It uses some or more debian packages.

Xubuntu is spin of Ubuntu using XFCE Desktop Environment (DE) and I think you can insall other DE after installing Xubuntu.

Gnome is a desktop environment.

Kde is a desktop environment.

GTK+2, GTK+3, QT are gui toolkits. You use them to create Graphical User Interface.


KDE uses QT.
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Old 02-07-2015, 03:43 AM   #4
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In Linux world you have Desktop Environments & Window Managers.

Window Managers actually draw the frame of windows, put title bars (min,max, restore buttons). It controls which window will be on top, transfers focus, resizes windows. Popular window managers are Open Box, Flux Box, Window Maker, FVWM, IceWM, Metacity, KWin... any many more.

Desktop Environment means some window manager (see above) and on on top of that stuff like task bars, application launch menu, application to change wallpapers, draw icons... It also include set of GUI applications like text editors(gedit, kate, leafpad...these are same as Notepad in Windows), tools/utilities to change different aspects of Display, Network, Keyboard, etc. Desktop Environment can be compared to Windows or Mac OSX. Popular Desktop Environments are GNOME, KDE, Xfce, MATE, Cinnamon, LXDE, and more. GNOME & KDE are very popular but might be more resource hungry than say Xfce which is light weight.

When trying to understand what GTK2, GTK3, QT etc means you should know what a toolkit is. Toolkit is used when you are actually building an application. This takes care of lot of functionality when you need to add a widget to the application. For example, when you need to draw buttons, you just use toolkit to draw it for you, otherwise without toolkit you'll have to tell your computer to draw a rectangular shape of button, it's color and god know what else (since it includes a lot of functionality these days, e.g. when you click the button what will it look like? do you want the action to happen as soon as button is pressed on when it's released?). Anyway, that's why an application might look a bit different when seen in GNOME or KDE...because GNOME is built using GTK+('+' implies we don't mean any particular version number of the GTK toolkit) and KDE is built using QT.

Last edited by GNU/Linux; 02-07-2015 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:55 AM   #5
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To get a survey of the wonderful world of desktops, with links to their sites, see

Applications should work well with any desktop, if they're properly written.

Xfce was the first full desktop for Linux, back in 1996. It's philosophy was once summed up as "doing the job without being in your face or under your feet." Xubuntu is one of the best implementations, along with Salix, ZevenOS, and Black Lab.
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:48 PM   #6
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Old 02-07-2015, 07:35 PM   #7
Gregg Bell
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Thanks everyone. All the replies (and links) were very helpful.



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